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Community nurse posts in the NHS are decreasing

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VOL: 102, ISSUE: 31, PAGE NO: 2

Jobs watch 1 August 2006

Jobs watch 1 August 2006

The community nurse workforce in England and Wales is still shrinking despite government policy calling for patients to be treated closer to home.

Figures released by the Information Centre for Health and Social Care last week show that between March 2005 and March 2006 the number of district nurses, school nurses and health visitors in full-time NHS posts dropped by around 500 each.

The figures - which also show vacancy rates - reveal the posts are not lying vacant, suggesting they have been scrapped, which is out of step with plans in January’s white paper Our Health, Our Care, Our Say for more care to move into the community.

In March this year there were just 70 district nurse and 60 health visitor vacant posts compared wi190 and 220 at the same time last year.

The situation is even worse for school nurses with the figures showing there were just 10 vacant posts - a drop of 20 on the previous year.

Lynne Young, RCN primary care adviser, said numbers of community nurses had been in decline for the last five years. ‘Patients won’t be able to access community nurses and they’ll have exhausted nurses looking after them if they do manage to get one. Across the board community nurses feel like they’re being squeezed,’ she said.

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